World's Agricultural Lands Maxed Out
Are a third of the world’s agricultural lands maxed out? According to a recent study by University of Nebraska researchers thirty percent of the major global cereal crops - including wheat, corn and rice, may have reached their maximum possible yields in farmers’ fields. This sounds the alarm on the already rising concerns about food production needs of a growing world population. The study’s researchers report that the production of cereal crops has either decreased or plateaued recently, pointing out that projections normally used to ensure food security amid a growing population are based on past continual increases in yield - suggesting that a constant increase in cereal crop yields is highly unlikely. Researchers also pointed out that to sustain further yield gain “would require fine tuning of many different factors in the production of crops”. So, what does that mean? UNL professor of agronomy, Ken Cassman, says that research priorities need to get back on track, and focus on accelerating the rate of gain in yield by using environmentally sensitive methods of production - a challenge he says we haven’t been up to so far.